Friday, 15 February 2013

Random Acts of Howardness

In Honour of Jim Howard and his family.

The northwest is a pretty dynamic community made up of all types of folks.  We’ve got something for everyone and everyone seems to fit in…for the most part.  But we’ve got a little something extra, a secret weapon if you will and while everyone knows this weapon, they don’t fully understand its power until they are standing right smack in the middle of all it’s glory, getting showered with an immeasurable energy.

This energy gives you hope and inspiration, it ignites your faith in humanity, it helps you understand that there is a higher purpose for all of us and demonstrates first hand that anything is possible.

I’m talking about inner Howardness.  What does it mean to be a Howard?  How does one achieve Howardness?  It’s futile to ask a Howard as their Howardness is something that comes from within them, it’s simply their natural course of action, it comes with such ease that to conjure it they only have to think it.  For the rest of us, to do a Howardful act takes careful thought and consideration and you will likely fail many times before achieving true inner Howardness. 

I count myself extremely lucky to know several Howards and have studied their methods thoroughly for a number of years in hopes that I will one day bring Howardness to the rest of the world.  How does one identify a Howardly act?  Here are a few simple indicators:
1.)   Is it selfless?
2.)   Does it involve a serious commitment of time?
3.)   Would you refuse or not require money to do it despite the fact that it likely cost you money?
4.)   Does it make people feel good?
5.)   Does it make people question your intentions simply because it’s so amazing that it’s hard to believe it’s real?
6.)   Does it attract media attention even though you’ve tried to thwart it?
7.)   Does it create a better community?
8.)   Does it teach important lessons?
9.)   Does it inspire others to do things of a similar nature?

Some specific examples of random acts of Howardness include:
·      Pie Day – Bake dozens of pies and hand our free slices every other year on main street in Smithers.  For no other reason than to do something fun and selfless for the community you call home.
·      Swim the Skeena – Dedicate 2 years of your life (and risking it) to training, educating, swimming, touring and speaking about the watershed while uniting and inspiring communities along the way.  Have a beautiful film created that airs on major television networks and gets translated into Japanese.
·      Teach kids to Ski – take a bunch of youth who can’t afford or just simply don’t have the opportunity to go skiing and pay for them to do it out of your own pocket simply because you think it’s a good idea.  You will do this weekly all winter but it’s not just the skiing part, you pick them up, drop them off and be their chaperone.
·      Be Beautiful – while others look upon you and wonder how it’s possible to be so handsome or beautiful, you teach them that it’s possible to be beautiful on the outside AND the inside all at the same time.
·      Be present – you will always find a Howard at community functions, waving a banner or supporting something worthwhile regardless of how many things they have taking up all their time.  You will also find them immediately at your side at the drop of hat should you ever need emotional, financial, political or physical support.
·      Do things well – If you’re going to do something, you might as well put your entire heart into it, there’s no use doing something half-assed. 
·      Be Thoughtful – Remember things that people say or feel so that when the time comes, you remember those things and shock those people with how special you’ve made them feel by remembering random things like their favourite food (and you make it for them), their favourite movie or music, etc.

I am grateful to live in a community that has not 1 but 3 Howards.  Every community needs a Howard or someone who has achieved Howardness. Just how is it that we’re so lucky here in the north? 

Some people leave this world and leave their mark…when a Howard leaves this world – they leave a legacy.